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The Vanishing Rights of Conscience for ProLife MD’s

Posted by MDViews on December 9, 2008

In my lack of posting the last few years, I’ve missed commenting on perhaps the most important issue to present itself to prolife MD’s since abortion was legalized, and that is the right to refuse to perform or refer for abortion.

About 1 1/2 years ago, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG) issued a statement from their “ethics committee” which said physicians must refer for abortion, do abortions themselves if no abortionists live close by, or move closer to abortionists so the service would be available.

Unfortunately, I’m not making this up. I submitted my resignation to ACOG based on that statement.

Last fall, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG), which is the group responsible for board certification of all OB/GYN doctors in the country, came out with a statement that all OB/GYN doctors certified by the board had to follow the ethics guidelines of ACOG or board certification could be denied.

Now, you must understand that board certification is not the same as licensing. Each individual state issues licenses to medical doctors to practice medicine based on their education, training and experience. Board certification is rarely required for licensing. But board certification is proof by an expert independent group that a doctor has special skill and knowledge in a particular area, such as OB/GYN.

The problem is that many health plans, HMO’s, PPO’s and hospitals require board certification. In such an instance, board certification is critical to one’s livihood. If a prolife OB/GYN can’t get hospital privileges, he or she would not be able to deliver babies or do surgery. So you can see where ACOG and ABOG are going. They don’t just want abortion legal, they want those of us who speak against abortion out of the profession of OB/GYN by depriving us of our ability to make a living.

This issue has gone to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Secretary Leavitt has issued rules affirming the right of conscience (in good measure due to the outpouring of letters, emails and blog posts from the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA) and the American Association of Pro Life OB/GYN’s (AAPLOG). However, the new Secretary of HHS will be Tom Dashle who, along with our new president Barak Obama, is strongly proabortion. ACOG and ABOG will have friends in power.

Should ACOG and ABOG have their way and my behavior be labeled unethical and my ability to practice OB/GYN impacted, I am prepared to walk that walk. I feel a bit like Martin Luther must have felt standing before the Diet of Worms, who, when asked to recant, said those famous words, “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”

Please pray for your prolife doctors.

Posted in Abortion, Faith and the Glory of God, Politics | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Brave New Liberal World–Forced Prostitution

Posted by MDViews on January 31, 2005

The UK Telegraph tells of a woman in Germany who may lose her unemployment benefits for not taking a job as a whore. Uh…Prostitute. Uhhh….commercial sex worker. Whew! It’s so hard to know what we are calling prostitutes these days.

Apparently, prostitution was legalized in Germany two years ago. As a result, “sex worker” is now a legitimate employment opportunity in the former Weimar Republic. It seems that a woman, unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits, was asked by a brothel to come and “work”. She turned them down.

Under a law passed last year, she may now have her unemployment benefits cut because she turned down a legitimate work opportunity.

As if whoring was the moral equivalent of say, welding parts on a BMW.

Most of you have probably never met a prostitute, so your concept of a prostitute may resemble Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman.” Well, I have provided medical care for several woman who made their living as strippers and prostitutes. Glamorous is not an adjective I would attach to any of them. The usual “commercial sex worker” that I encountered was monetarily very poor. She usually had poor hygiene (smelled bad), poor dentition (rotting teeth), one or two children, (usually not living with her) and a past history of multiple surgical procedures (cesarean sections, laparoscopies for pelvic pain and others). She was generally quite unattractive and often moderately overweight which apparently did not decrease her appeal to those who craved her service.

Maybe the prostitutes are different in Hollywood or in major cities from the prostitutes in southeast Iowa and western Illinois, but I really doubt it.

Prostitution is a crime to my way of thinking. And not a victimless crime, I might add. The poor woman who finds herself in this lifestyle by choice or force has usually been abused by boyfriends and rarely comes from a stable home environment. Most often alcohol or drug abuse are this woman’s companions. Social diseases are common, even for those who use latex protection. Many of these diseases are viruses carried for the rest of her life. Although she bear full responsibility for her actions, these extenuating circumstances and more help explain her behavior.

She is victimized by the sexual male uninhibited by societal mores or personal morality. With her, he is free to satisfy himself in whatever perverted way he wishes.

This sex without obligation or consequence encourages males to stay unattached, unmarried sexual predators further weakening the family and denigrating the role of women.

One commentator I heard defined each society’s primary role as civilizing its male children and preventing them from becoming adult barbarians. That may be true.

Yet the liberals and feminists argue that prostitution is a victimless crime and not really a crime at all, just a business exchange between adults. As such, it should be regulated, not criminalized. But if it is just business, just a job, legitimate work, then the situation in Germany is the result. So Germany proposes punishment (removing unemployment benefits) for a woman who declines this “employment opportunity.”

So, this means that the crime of prostitution, with its abuse of women, with its proclivity to disease, with its emotional scars, with its encouragement of the male monster is no longer a crime in Germany. Not only is it no longer a crime, but it is now a legitimate occupation. Not only is it a legitimate occupation, but now a woman must participate in this detestable act or be punished by the state.

This is the world turned on its head.

Solomon spoke about people like that, people who love evil and hate justice.

Proverbs 2:12-14 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose works are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,…

Proverbs 28:5 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.

I pray for these woman trapped and drawn into this “job” and for the society that allows it.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Where the liberals stand on infanticide–Honoring baby killers

Posted by MDViews on January 30, 2005

Conservative News Service has this article about a murder that happened here in Minnesota (before I moved here). Apparently, Mine Ener was an instructor in the Villanova history department and was director of the Center of Arab American Studies at that university. She gave birth to a daughter with Down syndrome. She was a married woman, so was not without help or support at home. When she and her daughter were visiting her parents in St. Paul MN she slashed her child’s throat two times with a kitchen knife. The baby girl was six months old. She admitted to killing the child because she did not want her daughter to “go through life suffering”. Her apologists say she was suffering from post partum depression (although receiving treatment) and as such was not responsible for her actions.

While incarcerated, Ms. Ener committed suicide in her Ramsey County jail cell by putting a plastic bag over her head.

Villanova now has decided to honor her memory by dedicating a new section of its library to “commemorate Ener’s life and work.” News articles also state that this area is being dedicated to her memory not only because of her life and work but also to raise awareness of post partum depression.

Oh, dear, where to begin.

I’ve provided care for countless women with post partum depression. At this writing, I’ve been delivering babies now for over a quarter of a century (I am old!)and have yet to see a patient kill her child. I’ve had some threatened to harm themselves or their children and I’ve aided them in obtaining psychiatric help, but NONE acted on that impulse.

And besides, by her own words, she did not kill the child because of her depression or the fact that she had lost touch with reality. She did it so the baby would not “go through life suffering.” Sounds like she knew exactly what she was doing and why. Her thinking does not appear to be delusional or psychotic.

So, in my mind at least, this woman murdered her daughter and post partum depression or not, she was aware, coherent and making perfect sense.

Her daughter had Down syndrome. This disability is just that–a disability, not a life sentence of misery.

My older brother and his wife started their family when they were already in their 30’s. They have three children now, MJ, Marc and Dianna. MJ, their first, has Down syndrome. My wife and I are his god-parents in addition to being his uncle and aunt. He is now 22 years old and is one of the happier souls on this planet. He voted for George Bush for president which means what he lacks in IQ, he more than compensates for in judgment.

Would I have wanted the ultimate solution for little MJ when he was six months old? God forbid.

Now, having a son with Down syndrome is no walk in the park. My brother and his wife have had their hands full. Their was an initial sadness that swept over the entire family as the magnitude of his disability settled in. How tragic! Both my brother and sister-in-law are teachers. They are educated people so in love with books and school and all that goes with it. Then to know that their son, their first born, would never really share that with them, would never reach a intelligence to perhaps even live on his own. Such a heartbreak.

But life goes on and his did too. It gave our somewhat smug family of high achievers an insight into the meaning of disabilities and also helped us appreciate that the disabled are people, too. We don’t think of MJ as our nephew with Down syndrome, we just think of him as MJ.

I say all this to point out that a disability is NOT a justification for homicide.

But now I’m left to wonder: Why is Villanova honoring the memory of this woman? One blog, Open Book has a good summary and many helpful posts. Would they be honoring her if she had killed someone else’s baby? Would they honor her if the slain child did not suffer from Down syndrome? The liberals are the first to defend the right to kill an unborn child with Down syndrome. It seems to me to be a minor moral stretch to extend the killing to those six months old with Down syndrome.

When asked, the university said that they wanted to honor her life, not her tragic ending. Like it was something that “just happened” to her, not something for which she was responsible. One student from Villanova points out, however, that the university removed the name of John DuPont from a building when he was convicted of murder. So they just “selectively” honor murderers at Villanova.

I, of all people, having provided care to women with post partum depression, would not want to minimize the impact of the disease. It is and can be devastating. But even those in the depths of post partum depression do not murder. It just is not a justification in my mind.

So, shame on Villanova for their actions. This appears to be another black eye for the Catholic Church (Villanova is a Catholic university) as if they didn’t have enough already.

Posted in Abortion, Politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Terri Shiavo’s plight–the Court’s shame

Posted by MDViews on January 25, 2005

Terri Shiavo, the woman in Florida who is in a “persistent vegetative state” (or just neurologically impaired depending on who you believe) from an event in which her heart stopped beating, lost a battle to the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) today when they allowed to stand a decision by the Florida supreme court overturning “Terri’s law”.

Some history. Terri is married to Michael, a man who now lives with another woman and has two children with her. Michael and Terri’s parents have been battling for over a decade over Terri and her feeding tube. Michael wants it removed so she will dehydrate and starve to death. Her parents want to keep it in so she can continue to receive food and water.

They dispute how aware she is. Michael says she’s a vegetable with no value, at least not enough to warrant food and water. Her parents say she responds and is quite aware of people and her surroundings.

When Michael won a court battle in 2003 allowing removal of the feeding tube, Jeb Bush and the Florida legislature passed “Terri’s law” which mandated the tube be replaced and her food and water continued. Later, the Florida Supreme court overturned the law saying the legislature overstepped its bounds. The case was appealed, and today the SCOTUS sided with the Florida Supreme Court by refusing to hear the case and allowing the ruling to stand.

Hmm, I wonder. Does Michael have a motive that may not be altruistic?

It’s hard to place this into a perspective that will impact your ordinary wishy-washy, I’d-rather-not-think-about-things-like-this citizen. After all, who can oppose helping some poor vegetable a trip to a better place?

Well, people need to know that these cases are seldom so clear cut. The science of neurology is part science and much art. Thus the differing opinions on Terri Shiavo’s state of health.

I once had a patient who was in a motor vehicle accident and sustained a severe head injury. She was in a coma on a ventilator for one month when she “woke up”, as she put it. When I saw her, it was several years after that episode. She could walk and think and lived in her own apartment. She was disabled from her injury, but she certainly appreciated being alive. If her state had allowed euthanasia, she could have legally been removed from life support and killed. She was a “vegetable” by anyone’s definition, but now is a functioning human being.

And so it goes. Once the state allows life to be ended by withdrawing food and water, it is participating in euthanasia. The distance between withdrawing life-saving treatment (antibiotics, blood products, medicines) and withdrawing the basic substance of life (food and water) is short. How short, then, to hemlock and mercy killing? Very, very short, indeed.

And is recoverability or mental functioning a requirement for human life? What if Terri is in a vegetative state? Does that disqualify her from existence? Who decides what life is worth living, what life has value?

History is replete with those who thought they could decide. Hitler was one. Six million Jews lived (or died) his value system.

My prayer is that President Bush and the conservatives in Congress will bring some jurists to the court who will support life. It can’t come to soon.

Posted in Euthanasia | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »